The Red Bus Project will be returning to ETSU for its fourth time on April 20 and 21. The event will be hosted by the Roan Scholars Leadership Program.
“The Red Bus Project is a mobile thrift store for orphans, and it’s a big, double decker red bus just like the ones from London,” said James Grindstaff, director of the project at ETSU.
“It’ll roll onto campus, it drives and it’s full of clothes. They’ll also have tents and other things like big bins full of clothes, and all of the clothes that have been donated from other students and universities.”
The goal of the Red Bus Project is to bring awareness to the struggles of orphans and adopting families and also raise funds for them.
“It brings back a general awareness that orphans are a serious issue in the United States,” Grindstaff said. “I guess where it’s been a thing for so long, people just kind of write it off now, but it’s still just as serious of an issue as it always has been.”
The project is specifically helping families who are trying to adopt orphans.
“So all of the proceeds from this clothes sale go to adoption grants, which offset the cost of adoption for families trying to adopt,” Grindstaff said. “Adoption is really expensive … which limits who and what kind of people can adopt.” Grindstaff believes that the Red Bus Project is successfully bringing aid and awareness to these families.
To help raise awareness, students can donate and purchase clothes from the Red Bus.
“We’ve always done really well with donations here,” Grindstaff said.
“I think ETSU usually gives more donations than most universities do. We are the only university that they come to for two days.”
The Red Bus Project brings out a lot of good from ETSU students. Not only do they participate in donating and purchasing from the project, Roan Scholar students — and others — are integral in the Red Bus’s success at ETSU.
“We do a lot for them that isn’t really done at other universities,” Grindstaff said.“Like, the men of Kappa Sigma for the past three years, they’ve always come and done set up and tear down which takes set up and tear down time from an hour and a half to thirty minutes.”
Grindstaff encourages all students to come out and participate during the two days that the bus is at ETSU.
“I see a lot of people that will come and donate, or come and hang out, look around, play games and stuff, but a lot of people don’t actually stop and look through the clothes,” Grindstaff said.
“The big thing is to actually come, and don’t just write it off as a thrift store, there are good clothes here.”
Grindstaff hopes that the Red Bus Project will ignite awareness at ETSU and other universities along its tour.
“At least for a few days, it reminds everyone that this is an issue,” Grindstaff said. “Every 18 seconds, a child becomes an orphan around the world … and that’s huge. It reminds everyone of that.”